Hi, I'm Mark Ellison. I help people experience the restorative power of nature to optimize their health and effectiveness.
I earned my doctorate in adult education and human resource development from North Carolina State University. The research for my dissertation explored the restorative benefits of hiking in wilderness solitude and the relationship to job satisfaction. I founded HikingResearch.com as a doctoral student at NC State and it has evolved to become a primary resource for information on how nature impacts health and effectiveness.
I was introduced to hiking as an undergraduate at Western Carolina University in beautiful Cullowhee, North Carolina, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains near the Appalachian Trail and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is also where I live. I enjoy spending as much time as possible in nature by hiking, kayaking, cross-country skiing, and mountain biking.
I started offering guided forest therapy walks in 2013 after meeting with and learning from Dr. Qing Li who helped develop the practice in Japan. I am certified as a forest therapy guide and forest therapy trail consultant by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy. I offer guided walks at Pinnacle Park in Sylva, NC which is the first certified forest therapy trail in North Carolina. I have also created programs for organizations and groups including regional chambers of commerce, medical centers, businesses and universities focused on the use of nature for improved health and effectiveness.
I am also a contributing writer for The Appalachian Trail Journeys Magazine:
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Journeys Magazine (Fall 2019) "Dark Night Skies"
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Journeys Magazine (Spring 2019) "Healthy Forests"
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Journeys Magazine – November/December 2010 (Go to "Emotional Rescue" on page 3)
Magazine, newspaper and online articles that have referenced my work include:
-This Working Life (2022 Australian Career Book of the Year)
-North Carolina Travel Guide 2023
-Plateau Magazine (Highlands/Cashiers)
-National Geographic:1000 Perfect Weekends
-North Carolina Travel Guide 2021
-Birmingham Home & Garden (October 2019)
-Mountain Xpress (Asheville-2016)
-The Guardian (February 2018) They cite an article I wrote in the link for soft fascination
Contact me today to schedule a forest therapy walk and to learn how spending time in nature can improve your health.
Guiding a forest therapy experience for senior adults for the Trails Please Foundation with Amy Grant on her farm near Nashville, TN.
For any general inquiries, please fill in the following contact form: